PARLIAMENTARIANS will soon begin receiving monthly tax-free fuel allowances of M5000 each. This means that the MPs will each receive a total of M60 000 per annum.
However, MPs who are cabinet members will not be given the allowance.
The new fuel windfall will come into effect in the 2021/22 financial year which begins on 1 April 2021.
Previously, the MPs were required to submit mileage reports for reimbursement for fuel expenses incurred in the course of their duties.
The new arrangement came to light late last week when the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on the Prime Minister’s Ministries and Departments, Governance, Foreign Relations and Information Cluster, Tšeliso Kalake, tabled the committee’s report in parliament.
“The committee resolved that members of parliament should be paid a tax-free petrol allowance as part of salary packages,” Mr Kalake said.
The fuel allowances represent a huge climbdown by the MPs who had last year demanded 100 percent salary increments which would see each of them take home a whooping M75 000 per month.
They first made the salary demands in November 2018.
At the time, the MPs, who are also lavished with a number of perks including M500 000 interest free loans, also demanded that they be eligible for pensions after serving for only two years in the House. They are presently only eligible for pensions after serving two five-year terms.
The MPs even coerced the then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane into ordering his then Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro to establish an inter-ministerial team to consider a revised salary structure for them. Dr Majoro succeeded Mr Thabane on 20 May 2020 and a month later, he too was presented with the salary demands.
They even demanded official funerals even if they died after their terms had ended.
A massive outcry from the public and analysts, who described the MPs’ demands as “heartless and selfish”, eventually forced the MPs and the government to abandon the proposals to award the legislators salary increments.